French Castles Chateau de Lastours Limousin France Medieval Festival

Castle of Lastours at Nexon, France

Chateau de Lastours, Nexon, south west France
Chateau de Lastours, Nexon, south west France | Source

The lost Chateau of Lastours

If your are very lucky you might stumble across the remnants of the lost Castle of Lastours nestled in the beautiful countryside of Limousin, France. Built in Middle Ages, dating from XIIth century, this ruined castle in the region of Nexon continues to remind us of the romance of medieval life in south west France.

The origin of the name of Lastours comes from the occitan language and literally means Las Tors, 'Les tours' and as you can see from the photograph above, the castle is dominated by its massive round towers.

Although the castle is now in ruins it hasn't been forgotten and at present it is being renovated by a loyal group of volunteers who are not only repairing the fabric of the building but are also keeping the spirit of the castle alive with medieval fetes and festivals celebrating everyday life in the middle ages.

Where is the Castle of Lastours?

A markerLastours Limousin 87 -
Lastours, 87800 Rilhac-Lastours, France
[get directions]

The village of Rihac-Lastours, region of Nexon

The history of Lastours

The Castle of Lastours was built in the XIIth century but little remains today apart from some of the towers and the dungeon.

The earliest castle on the site appeared in the 10th century and consisted of three mounds with a wooden castle. The chateau in stone that we see today was built between the end of the 12th century and the 15th century by the Lastours family. It has a dungeon, six towers, courtyards and vast living accommodation.


Unfotunately, following the Revolution in the eighteenth cenury, the chateau fell into ruins.

It has been classified as an ancient monument since 1956.

Who lived at Lastours?

The first member of the Lastours family was Gulferius de Lastours. There are references to him in 957,962 and 988.

His son was Guy de Lastours, called "Le Noir"

After him came Gouffier de Lastours, the "Le Grand" or "Le Vieux", ou encore "Le Chevalier Au Lion". Gouffier of Lastours (you'll find it spelled in various ways - Goufier, Gulpher or even Golfier,) lord of the Château de Lastours was a knight who took part in the First Crusade.

He was the son of son of Guy I of Lastours and Agnes and although his birth date is unknown, he did donate land between 1062 and 1072.

Then came Seguin de Lastours, his son Seguin, Ramnulphe de Lastours, Seguin, Ramnulphe, .... Have a look at this documetnt for a full list Lastours

Suffice to say that during the 11th century th family prospered and distingued themselves in battle, notably in the battle at Malemort in 1177, where the Limousins fought against Richard, dit "Coeur de Lion".

There was a family decline in the 13th century but the prestige of the bloodline rose again in the 15th century.

The ruined towers of the Chateau of Lastours

The ruined towers of Lastours castle looms above the trees
The ruined towers of Lastours castle looms above the trees | Source

On the Route Richard the Lion heart

To celebrate the history of the Limousin and to showcase the many fabulous castles, churches and villages (including Lastours) in this ancient region of France the Route of Richard the Lion Heart has been created. Follow the route to see the historic sites of medieval France.

Festival Richard the lion heart at the Chateau Lastours Part 1

The Castle of Latours interior

This picture was taken from inside the castle
This picture was taken from inside the castle | Source

Have you ever heard of the chateau of Lastours?

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Restoration and Medieval Festivals

A group of volunteers known as the association "ASPEL les Amis de Lastours" (Association de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine et de l'Environnement en Limousin which translates roughly as The Association to safeguard the heritage and the environment of Limousin) are not only restoring the castle but they are also responsible for organising various medieval festivals and events at the chateau.

Visits, events festivals and games at Lastours castle 2014

Event
Dates
Information
Night tours by torchlight
22, 29 July, 5, 7, 12 & 14 August
22h00 - Midnight
Grand summer medieval festival
9 - 10 August
11h00 - 19h00
Grande festival nocturne
9 August
21h00 - 23h00
Medieval games and mysteries
12, 13, 14 July, 5, 6 7th August
14h30 - 19h00 (Last entry 17h30)
Open days
14 , 15 June, 15 - 22 July, 20, 21 September
14h00 - 18h00

A day of medieval games and discovery

The Castle Lastours presents nocturnal visits and visits with and without guides, games, enigmas and mysteries.

Every year a big medieval summer festival is held in the castle: medieval camps, combat, spectacles, music, demonstrations, crafts, games and feasts.

People dress in medieval costumes and demonstrate hand crafts and the every day life of the Middle Ages.

Blacksmith at Lastours Castle day of medieval discovery

A medieval blacksmith's forge at Lastours castle
A medieval blacksmith's forge at Lastours castle | Source

The blacksmith, the fire iron and the tinder fungus

We visited in July 2014 and there was blacksmith's workshop complete with bellows, anvil, wooden bucket and tools. The blacksmith wore a leather apron fixed with a brooch, and clogs.

The blacksmith told us that most of the things made would have been agricultural or domestic. Sometimes they would make swords and shields for war.

The most interesting thing that we saw was a fire steel. It is survival kit. With a fire steel, flint and tinder fungus he made sparks and made fire.

Processing tinder fungus for use

Contact details for the Castle of Lastours

You can contact the ASPEL by pone on +33 (0)5 55 58 38 47 or by email atASPEL-Lastours@wanadoo.fr

About the author

I've lived in France now for 11 years and I'm still discovering the fabulous art, history, landscape and heritageof the area. This is not my first visit to the castle of Lastours but it is the first time that I've seen the medieval games and events.

I now run painting holidays, have a holiday cottage and a Bed and Breakfast (Les Trois Chenes) in Videix, about forty minutes from Lastours. Have a look at our website, www.lestroischenes.com

© 2014 Les Trois Chenes

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14 comments

Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 8 months ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Come by and see us this time! Hope you make it to Limousin and Lastours. We have some great castles here so you could do a tour!


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I have placed this in my list of places to visit. I am sure we will be back one of these days to enjoy this.


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 20 months ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

It is definitely worth taking the time if you are in the area. Thanks for leaving a comment Blackspaniel.


Blackspaniel1 profile image

Blackspaniel1 20 months ago

I would be happy to visit any time, not just during the festival. In fact, it might be better visited with fewer activities.


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 22 months ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

I suppose that as time passes there will be more and more ancient monuments in America. In Britain they are starting to preserve buildings from the 50's and 60's - the architecture of my youth! Thanks for leaving a comment dahoglund.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 22 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids

In the United States we are fascinated by castles because our history does not go back so far. It is good that we are now awakening to the value of some of our artifacts, such as frontier forts and old railroads.


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 2 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Why not hop on a cheap flight and come and see for yourself, Rose? Lovely region with lots of things to write about - and so little known. Hidden France indeed.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi, I have never heard of this one before, but I love Castles, I often go to Windsor which is just up the road from me, I would love to come over for a visit to see it, nell


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 2 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Castles are so romantic. I do hope you drop by if you're in the region, tony. We have so many castles here.


TonyPayne profile image

TonyPayne 2 years ago from Southampton, UK

This looks fantastic. I just changed my profile background to a castle too before I saw this article.

I love castles, we have plenty here in England, but I love the ones I have seen in Normandy & Brittany as well. Maybe if we can get to this part of France we can go visit.


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 2 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Do come, tirelesstraveler - it's a hidden gem!


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 2 years ago from California

Fascinating castle. I have never been in the south of France,but would love to visit someday and stay in your B&B.


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 2 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Thank you so much for your comment, aviannovice. I expect it will be a long time if volunteers have to raise the cash and do the work themselves.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

What a beautiful place. It will be a long restoration, but the end result will be wonderful. Thanks for the great info.

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